1. More participation, less consumption. As a traveler, it’s easy to fill an itinerary with popular tourist activities and experience a destination from a surface level. Enrichen your travels by partaking in tours and activities that immerse yourself in the local culture. Take an active approach and enjoy your experiences, all while connecting with the destination and its people. Don’t worry about social media pressures or pressing emails – just enjoy the journey.
2. Make a positive impact. Traveling is often a selfish, transactional experience. Tour agencies will facilitate an experience without any positive benefit to the destination. Often, even the monetary rewards of a tour will end up in the hands of large companies in other countries. Book experiences that you’re comfortable knowing directly impact the local economies. Additionally, you can volunteer at and use eco-friendly services that make it their mission to make the world a better place.
3. Connect and learn with locals. One of the best ways to learn a new culture is by meeting and building friendships with your destination’s locals. Go beyond the guide and experience first-hand knowledge from those that helped define and sustain your destination.
4. Support the local economy. Tourism leakage is a large issue in the travel industry. It means that tourist money often never makes it to local economies. Large conglomerates in different countries often eat up profits and act as middlemen for travelers. Support local economies by working with tour companies, agencies, and NGOs that directly impact your destination. Local, grassroots tour providers also provide a more genuine and unique experience.
5. Preserve cultures for future generations. Leave only footprints at your favorite travel destinations. Book tours knowing that your providers do not hurt the environment and turn the location into a worse version of itself for future travelers. Be mindful of your carbon footprint and ways to minimize it, while still having fun. You can make an impact and set an example during your travels.